Overrated The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School  

Lauren Slocum
9.4k votes 901 voters 5.3k views 44 items

List Rules Vote up the most overrated required reading.

They say there's no accounting for taste and overrated classic literature seems to prove as much. While critics, scholars, and your high shool English teacher may gushed over certain canonical works, you may look back at such novels and novellas with profound confusion. Were they really that good? Below, you will find all the worst books from high school ranked by your votes! 

Books become classics for a variety of reasons. Politics, privilege, and sometimes random chance help determine which texts stand the test of time. This means some books lauded as veritable epitomes of literary excellence may have just kind of lucked out. There are some books you shouldn't have to read in high school, regardless of how esteemed they may be. Given J.D. Saligner's shoddy reputation, do we really have to keep revisiting The Catcher in the Rye? And while Beowulf is one of the oldest stories ever told, the narrative is pretty uninteresting when you get down to it. Browse this list for other works that should be nixed from required reading lists everywhere! 

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list ordered by

1
194 134
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Nathaniel Hawthorne

2
116 71
Ethan Frome is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Edith Wharton

3
225 175
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Shakespeare

4
163 119
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Ernest Hemingway

5
143 104
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charles Dickens

6
151 112
Wuthering Heights is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Emily Brontë

7
207 169
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
J. D. Salinger

8
139 108
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Herman Melville

9
115 92
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charlotte Brontë

10
211 192
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
F. Scott Fitzgerald

11
138 118
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

12
94 74
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
John Knowles

13
141 124
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Austen

14
120 106
A Tale of Two Cities is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Charles Dickens

15
98 88
Sense and Sensibility is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Jane Austen

16
72 62
Madame Bovary is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Gustave Flaubert

17
117 119
The Crucible is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Arthur Miller

18
67 64
Love in the Time of Cholera is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Gabriel García Márquez

19
62 59
Finnegan's Wake is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

20
71 72
Othello is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
William Shakespeare

21
91 96
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Joseph Conrad

22
59 59
The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Kate Chopin

23
131 144
The Adventures of Huckleberry ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School

24
68 71
Things Fall Apart is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
Chinua Achebe

25
49 53
All Quiet on the Western Front is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Overrated Classics You Were Forced To Read In High School
DaleBerridge added Erich Maria Remarque